More than three in four taxpayers in the UK (77.5%) are frustrated with the complexity of the tax system and favour simplification.

That’s according to results of a study conducted by Herts Chamber Member, Baker Tilly, the UK’s 7th largest accountancy and business advisory firm, which has an office in Watford.

The survey, which was conducted through the Baker Tilly website in December, examined beliefs on tax issues such as simplicity, fairness, and the levels of taxation and the use of the tax system as a tool for social engineering. Respondents were asked to give their views on these four areas and received feedback on their answers. Another surprising statistic was that only a slim majority (54%) felt they pay too much tax, while 11% would even be prepared to pay more tax if it meant better public services. The 700 respondents came from a wide range of income backgrounds and professions.

Commenting on the results, Vincent Wood, tax partner for Baker Tilly in Watford said: “There are two crucial findings for HMRC here. First is the public’s considered attitude towards tax as demonstrated by the 46% of people who are content with their current tax bill or would pay more for better social justice. Second is the overwhelming majority of people who expressed concern at the complexity of the tax system. Tax simplification is a very complicated issue: now is a good time for HMRC to initiate a serious debate as to how we strike the best balance.”

Other results from the survey include:

Over three quarters of respondents are amenable to adopting a flat rate of tax (77.5%). 28.7% would be in favour of adopting a flat tax rate if it suited the economy while 48.8% favour a flat tax model now.

Over half of respondents believe they pay too much tax (54%); one in ten would pay more for better public services (11.2%).

Over 40% of all respondents believe high earners should not be penalised with proportionately higher taxes as they have studied/worked hard to earn their wage (43%). This is interesting as 71% of respondents were from the lowest two wage brackets. (Up to £50,000)

Half (51%) of people believe it is right to give tax reliefs and benefits for expenditure or behaviour that encourages appropriate social and economic values in our society.